Archive for June, 2010

Dred Scott Dossier

June 29, 2010

In high school I only got a very basic summary of the Dred Scott case, but in a Constitutional Law class at Boston College I really got to dig deeper into it.  Teaching a summer African American Experience this summer, I wanted to use case studies for each unit to give students a chance to really look at something in depth and do college level work.  The result was this assignment which breaks the case into several parts and gives students a chance to make their own legal decisions and assess Justice Taney’s.

Dred Scott Dossier

American law is based on precedent, meaning that each decision is based on not only the written law, but also previous legal decisions.  That is why lawyers must spend so much time studying law and why there are extensive legal libraries.  In this activity, you will examine a historical legal case and make your own legal decision based on the facts.  Read the documents carefully, and render your decision at the end.

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Research and Beliefs

June 3, 2010

Hello!  This is Becca – I’m a grad student at Michigan Tech, studying Rhetoric and Technical Communications and teaching a course that’s currently called Revisions.  It’s the required university-wide second-year communication course, and as a graduate teaching instructor I get to design my own projects.  I’m teaching Track A this summer, and I just got the rough drafts on a new project – they turned out so well, I wanted to share.

The intro: Knowing about the other side of a situation can help you strengthen your own opinion and can lend credence to your own argument.  In this project you will research an opposing viewpoint and write an essay from that point of view before constructing an essay from your own point of view and presenting this to the class.

Topics of debate could include, but are not limited to: the death penalty; book burning; censorship; saying the Pledge of Allegiance at school; prayer in schools; privileging sports over music and art in high schools; racism; abortion; gay marriage; needing a passport to enter Canada; “going green”; and so on.  You will use research in this project, so make sure to choose a subject that has ample information.

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